Jon Danger

Mallet or Blade Putter: Which Is the Better Option?

Feb 10
9 minutes

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned linksman, trying to figure out what golf clubs to carry in your bag is always a bit of a challenge. While choosing the right mix of hybrids, wedges, irons, and general golf equipment takes a bit of trial and error and some time on the course, perhaps nothing else makes such a huge “divot” in your golf game than your putter across all skill levels. That’s why, at some point, every golfer asks, “should I use a mallet or blade putter?”

Though the answer is subjective to some degree and also a matter of personal preference, choosing the right putter can provide the difference between three-putts and an unstoppable run on the green.

What Is a Blade Putter?

Blade putter striking a ball

A blade-style putter is the OG of the putting world. As the name implies, it’s a thin piece of metal that most people think about when putters enter their minds. If you’re a beginner, you might envision a miniature golf putter—that’s exactly what a blade putter is.

Generally speaking, the sweet spot of a blade putter is more toward the heel of the club due to a heavier toe hang or toe weighting that helps you close the face of the club as you make contact with the golf ball.

What Is a Mallet Putter?

Person using a mallet putter

Invented in the early 1990s, mallet putters have a much larger head than blade putters. Traditionally, a mallet putter had a flat club face with a semi-circle head shape on the backside. The intent was to distribute the weight to the back of the club head while also giving the putter itself a larger sweet spot—that is to say, a mallet putter is far more forgiving.

Since it hit the market, the mallet putter has evolved like almost any other type of club. Some mallet-style putters feature the shaft positioned at one side of the club or the middle. Other mallet putter designs focus more on the weight distribution via the backside of the club. Along with the traditional semi-circle, you’ll find various geometric shapes, fang-style shapes, and ones with holes drilled in the middle—all of which are intended to provide balance and a more fluid stroke.

So What’s the Better Option? Mallet or Blade Putter?

Unfortunately, the blade vs mallet putter debate has no definitive answer. In most cases, the preference of the golfer takes precedence. Whatever you feel better swinging is the better option and practicing repeatedly with one rather than flip-flopping is ideal for your advancement on the green.

Nevertheless, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each one to see which you should put in your bag.

Pros of a Mallet Putter

The main reason that you should purchase a mallet as your new putter is simple: it’s far more forgiving and has a larger sweet spot than a blade putter. If you’re a beginner, a mallet putter will yield much more impressive results compared to a blade design, simply because of these two facets.

Mallet putters also tend to be a better option for putters with a straight-back, straight-forward putting stroke. Mallets are also typically face-balanced putters, which puts the center of gravity directly in line with the axis of the shaft. This prevents the putter from twisting when you swing and keeps the putter head square to the ball.

While mallet putters may not provide the precision control afforded by a blade putter, they do provide easier distance control and aiming for beginners. This is the result of perimeter weighting, a larger club head, and a higher moment of inertia (MOI), which is the likelihood that the putter twists when you swing. (The higher the MOI, the less twist you get.)

A mallet putter also comes with alignment aids/alignment lines that are much larger than those of a blade putter. This ensures that your aim is tighter and closer to the hole—again, much more forgiving than a blade putter.

A final advantage of the mallet putter is the seemingly endless amount of designs. With hundreds of available types and far more than blade putters, you have more of an opportunity to find one that feels great in your hands.

Cons of a Mallet Putter

With so many advantages, you may already be sold on a mallet putter, but pump the brakes right quick. It’s not so cut and dried. If you have a bit of an arc-style stroke to your putt, a mallet putter isn’t ideal.

When you have an arc stroke, you want to have a bit of twist and give to the putter to account for the arc. A mallet putter’s face balancing impedes the natural twist that an arc-style stroke provides, so if you have a bit of an arc, you may want to try a blade putter.

In addition, mallets aren’t as forgiving on fast greens. When the green plays fast, the lack of precision that a mallet putter provides can prove troublesome—at least in comparison to a blade putter.

Pros of a Blade Putter

Regardless of whether you’re a golf purist, a blade putter has its rightful place on the course, even with the surging popularity of mallet putters.

The most crucial aspect of whether you should use a blade putter is your stroke. If you have a bit of an arc stroke, a blade putter is your greatest ally. Because it has quite a bit more toe hang compared to face balance, and oftentimes, a lower MOI, you can open and close the putter as you go through your stroke.

Due to the improved ability to turn the club at will, blade putters also offer improved levels of control and precision. And while the sweet spot is smaller, this encourages more precision when you’re practicing—whether you’re on the course or putting in your office.

This precision lends itself to better distance control for intermediate and advanced players. In addition, experienced golfers also state that most blade putters have a better “feel” to them, which can increase control and help you feel more comfortable on the green. This contributes to an improved touch, which can also be helpful on faster greens.

Cons of a Blade Putter

The most egregious problem with a blade putter is control itself. Sure, if you boil it down to time and practice, the blade putter ends up being more precise. However, and that’s a big however, mastering the stroke and feel of a blade putter is far more difficult, and thus, far less forgiving than a mallet putter. Moreover, the smaller head of the club and alignment lines can create aiming problems.

If you’re not playing or practicing regularly, a blade putter can pose significant control and precision issues, which can boil over into frustration—the number one enemy of any golfer, regardless of talent or skill level.

Do the Pros Use a Mallet or Blade Putter?

Tiger Woods putting

Golfers on the PGA Tour are still split in terms of whether to use a mallet or blade putter. For example, Tiger Woods had exclusively used a blade putter until switching to a TaylorMade Ardmore 3 mallet putter in 2018. He hasn’t fared much better, but with more of a sweet spot on the putter head, Woods gives himself more control.

Some golf purists on the tour soundly reject the mallet putter, and historically, the best putters on the planet have almost exclusively used mallet putters. While a mallet putter may have a bigger sweet spot, nothing compares to the control and accuracy on short and longer putts that a blade putter provides—even if a blade putter has less room for error.

Even more interesting, many pro golfers flip-flop on the putter they use. For example, experienced players including professionals often use a blade putter on fast greens. However, heavier putters are often better on fast greens, which would point toward the use of a mallet putter. That is to say—the type of putter is entirely a matter of preference and going with what works.

Pros Who Use Mallet Putters

In case you were wondering, here are some of the pros who use a mallet putter:

  • Xander Schauffele
  • Scottie Scheffler
  • Rory McIlroy
  • Brandt Snedeker
  • Jon Rahm

Pros Who Use Blade Putters

Whether they’re golf purists or they just learned with a blade putter, here are some pro linksmen who turn to the precision of the blade on the PGA Tour:

  • Collin Morikawa
  • Hideki Matsuyama
  • Jordan Spieth
  • Bryson DeChambeau
  • Rickie Fowler

What Are Some of the Most Popular Mallet or Blade Putters?

TaylorMade Spider mallet putter

No matter your preference for a mallet or blade putter, you’re spoiled for choice in terms of options. Every golf club manufacturer offers both types in a variety of styles. To get you on the right track, here’s a glance at some of the most popular options on the market.

Most Popular Mallet Putters

  • TaylorMade Spider
  • Odyssey Stroke Lab by Callaway
  • Cleveland Golf Huntington Beach
  • PXG Battle Ready Blackbird
  • Scotty Cameron Phantom

Most Popular Blade Putters

  • Odyssey White Hot OG 1
  • Ping Anser
  • Scotty Cameron Newport 2
  • TaylorMade TP Hydro Blast Soto
  • Mizuno M. Craft OMOI

How You Can Choose the Right Putter for You

Since there’s really no right or wrong answer to the mallet or blade putter debate, the choice ultimately rests on your shoulders. The only way to know which one is right for you is to try them out. Many pro shops allow you to take a few practice putts with both types of putters. You can also ask your friends to borrow a putter or even rent a set of clubs to see which option suits you.

Once you’ve settled on a putter, remember to get a putter fitting. This service is also offered at many pro shops or golfing stores. By finding a reputable fitter, you can find a putter that accommodates your stroke, style, and putting prowess (or lack thereof).

At the end of the day, it’s all about what feels good when everything’s quiet on the green. Believe in your club, and you’re more likely to believe in yourself.

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